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A Fifth Son

A Fifth Son

In this Biblical teaching, Rabbi Eilfort discusses Passover and explains about "A Fifth Son." The reality that many Jews are not attending a Seder.

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A Fifth Son
By Rabbi Yeruchem Eilfort
When one thinks of Passover, images of the traditional Passover meal, the Seder, immediately enter the mind. A seder is truly the time of togetherness for the Jewish family. Together, we recount the miraculous birth of the Jewish people. We revisit G‑d's redeeming His people from the depths of despair and His transforming a nation of slaves into the beneficiaries of the Sinai experience and the recipients of His Torah.
The seder is more than just another retelling of the early history of the Jews. It is a vibrant learning experience in which all of the senses are utilized. This enables us to literally "digest" the message of Judaism. Most of us are fortunate to have fond memories of past seders.
In the course of the seder we discuss the "Four Sons" and the questions they pose, from the "Wise Son" who wants to know all of the particulars of Passover observances, to the "Wicked Son" who challenges and mocks them. There is a "Simple Son" who simply asks "What's this?" There is even a son whose only form of participation is simply being there. With everything happening around him, not a single question occupies his mind.
Modern society has had an impact upon the Jewish people: today we have yet another son. The son who does not even attend a seder.
Yes, it is true. There are many Jews out there who are not going to attend a seder this Passover. They can be put into three basic categories: 1) They have no place to attend. 2) They do not care to attend. 3) They do not know of Passover or its seder.
Just as there are answers for the Four Sons, there must be answers for this fifth son as well.
For those who have nowhere to attend, we must aggressively advertise the invitation found within the Haggadah, "All those who are hungry, let them come and eat! Whoever is in need, let him come and partake of the Passover!"
Those who do not know that it is Passover or that there is such a thing as a seder are perhaps the most worrisome of the groups. Most likely, they do not have the fond memories of Passovers past. They are, in fact, in danger of losing their Jewish identity altogether, G‑d forbid. As Jews, we are all responsible for the welfare of one another. We must therefore endeavor to introduce these people to their great inheritance, the Torah, the grandeur of their Judaism. If we should happen to see a person drowning, we would dive in to save him/her without thinking twice. We must, without delay, "pull out all of the stops" to rescue those who need us most!
Let us aggressively seek out the Fifth Son, wherever or whoever she or he might be. Every lost Jew we bring back into the family may be compared to the discovery of a lost treasure of incalculable value.
It is not enough to just set an extra place at the seder table. Not any more. We must fill the extra place with a warm body. We can then fill that warm body with the warmth that is Judaism.
Based on a call issued by by the Lubavitcher Rebbe shortly before Passover of 1957
Rabbi Yeruchem Eilfort is director of Chabad at La Costa and a scholar on AskMoses.com. Rabbi Eilfort welcomes readers comments and questions and may be reached via e-mail at rabbiE@chabadatlacosta.com.
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